I recently moved to where I am now living on the beautiful Central Coast of California. Come to think of it, I seem to have a “gypsy soul” because I actually have moved a lot in the last 15 years (at least 10 times)! Each time I move I love to look at a map of the surrounding area and study where everything is. Surely that comes from the days of growing up traveling to various places for summer vacations and I leaned over the car’s front seat (no seatbelts back then-yikes!) while my mom read the map and provided instructions on where to turn next — the “old fashioned GPS”! I still feel a vibrant energy thinking back to those days of going on a new adventure!
These days I rely heavily on my technological “GPS” navigation device to find my way around, especially after a move. One thing can be sure, the first thing I look up when I move is how to get to “Kohls” (Department Store)! Actually I use the GPS a lot to get around until I am confident I can get from “point A” to “point B” without assistance. When I think back, after many times using the GPS to get to Kohl’s, for example, I can remember the awkwardness and lack of confidence, but determination, in getting there on my own. Sometimes I made a wrong turn and was on the wrong course, but after awhile it became easier and easier because the pathway on the road is now mapped out in my brain. That’s called creating a “neuronal pathway”. I always come home with some super savings from Kohls. But this is not an ad for Kohls.
I realized that the GPS and mapping is a perfect metaphor for our journey to experience a happier, healthier, more balanced life: moving from stress to balanced; poor health to vibrant health; difficult relationships to peaceful; negative attitudes to gratitude; distracted to focused, and so on. Each of us has something in our lives that we would like to move away from, and move towards a better “place” of being.
Just like the GPS is a tool, so, too, there are “tools” available for us to use that have been proven over and over to improve well-being. The practice of mindfulness in daily living strengthens our brain and balances our bodies and minds. Some of you are still unclear on how mindfulness can help you, while others of you still feel “awkward” at integrating it into your life. That’s where I love to help! I love to help guide people like to get you from your point A to your point B, whatever that may be. If you have some experience with mindfulness, you understand that you continually need to keep charging up that “tool” or it won’t “work” for you. Simply knowing these tools are available is not enough just like simply having a store coupon in my wallet is going to do me any good. When we take action to get to point B, that is what creates the changes in our lives that we desire or want. That’s our personal inner GPS resource or tool to Generate Positive Steps on your journey to well-being. Here’s an example ~ bear with me!
Desire: New shoes. Action: I look at the dates on my coupon, know what hours are the best hours to shop, get in the car and drive to the store, try on the shoes, get some other good deals, and remember to use my coupon at the checkout. Result: Joy!
Desire: More peace in my life. Action: Learn, read, practice mindfulness. Notice when tension arises (awareness improves with mindfulness practice), deep calming breaths to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, take a break, reframe my thinking, practice positive states, meditate, and more (all the things I teach you) Result: More positive, balanced, sleep better, and more!
When we respond more skillfully to life’s challenges by turning on our inner GPS, we are activating well-being that would have otherwise remained stuck in low gear!
“Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj ~
Pertaining to children: Let’s go one last step further with this metaphor (it’s so much fun)! It is important for parents and educators to understand that WE are the child’s navigational system, helping them while their brains develop, while they learn about their emotions, and how to respond to life’s challenges because their brains are not fully developed until their mid-20’s. Our role is to help guide children until they have mapped out their own way (then we can be the backseat driver, with occasional directions)! Be like the GPS. The GPS doesn’t yell at us when we make a wrong turn, it simply restates the direction in a neutral voice. We too, as parents/educators, can be there to support our children as they navigate through difficult terrain and maybe pull over when the road feels bumpy and let someone else have a turn at driving.
I hope this is helpful and if you are living in the Central Coast of California area I invite you to check out my upcoming classes.
Join our Adult Classes: Mindful Habits: GPS towards Well-Being
Shell Beach, CA (begins Sept 5) and Morro Bay, CA (begins Sept 7)
Sharpen your inner GPS to guide and navigate you from where you are currently to where you want to be using evidence based practices of mindfulness to potentiate physical and psychological benefits for well-being.